King Hussein Cancer Foundation and Center Participate in ‘World Conference on Tobacco or Health’ in Abu Dhabi

The King Hussein Cancer Foundation (KHCF), and the Cancer Control Office (CCO) at King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC) – headed by Her Royal Highness Princess Dina Mired, the Director General of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation – participated in the 16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH). Held between 17 -21 March, 2015, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, the Conference highlighted the latest global measures taken to control and reduce the tobacco consumption.

7April2015-blog29-photo1

Her Royal Highness Princess Dina took part in several discussion sessions as a keynote speaker. The sessions featured a number of government officials, policy makers and youth who spoke about tobacco, its risks and its direct correlation with non-communicable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular, diabetes and respiratory illnesses. Commenting on her participation in the Conference, Her Royal Highness Princess Dina stated, “Unfortunately, tobacco epidemic, including smoking cigarettes and waterpipe will result in the death of one billion people in the 21st century, if we do not unite and take a stand.”

Joined by a group of prominent global figures, Her Royal Highness Princess Dina spearheaded a Youth Pre-Conference Workshop during which she officially launched a Facebook page, entitled No More Tobacco in the 21st Century. The page aims to build an online community that raises awareness on tobacco via social media platforms.

Her Royal Highness Princess Dina and a number of key figures dedicated to combating tobacco such as the United States Surgeon General Vice Admiral and the Regional Director of Eastern Mediterranean of World Health Organization (WHO) were hosted as keynote speakers during the Inaugural Ceremony. Her Royal Highness Princess Dina shed light on the prevalence of the tobacco epidemic in Jordan and on the vital role non-government organizations play in involving community members in combating tobacco. Her Royal Highness Princess Dina highlighted political leaders in Turkey as model examples for other countries worldwide in terms of combating tobacco and stressed Jordan’s need for similar political support in order to fight the epidemic and lower the number of related deaths.

In another seminar, Her Royal Highness Princess Dina spoke about the funding strategies for global tobacco control, and reaffirmed the importance of increasing taxes on tobacco.

Furthermore, the CCO took part in a number of workshops, symposia and panel discussions entitled: Building Support for and Compliance with Smoke-Free Worksite Policies in the Middle East; The Experience of Jordan in a Changing Surrounding Political Environment; Prevention and Control of the Use of Waterpipe: The Future of Regulation; The Waterpipe Epidemic in the Middle East; and The Road to a Comprehensive Tobacco Dependence Treatment Program: Needs, Challenges and Outcomes.

The CCO also participated in Poster Discussion Sessions, presenting posters entitled: The Effect of Tobacco Dependence Treatment Training on Competence and Confidence: Experience of King Hussein Cancer Center and Global Bridges; Media Coverage of Tobacco Control in Jordan: An Analysis of Newspaper Reporting; and Preliminary evidence of waterpipe effect on respiratory symptoms in young long-term users, the results of this an ongoing study showed an increased susceptibility in waterpipe users to respiratory symptoms such as coughing, phlegm, wheezing and shortness of breath when exerting physical effort. The percentage reporting respiratory symptoms stood at 77% in waterpipe smokers compared to 28% in non-smokers, despite their young age (18 to 26 year-olds).

Participants from the Kingdom also included representatives from the Tobacco Free Jordan Association and the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations, both of whom were awarded grants to attend the youth pre-conference workshop at the WCTOH, which plays a significant role in helping combat tobacco in Jordan.

The WCTOH drew the participation of over 3,000 tobacco epidemic experts who showcased and discussed the latest global advancements in combating tobacco, thus enhancing regional and international partnerships through specialized programs, activities and seminars.

The Conference concluded with a set of recommendations, most noteworthy of which were the need to implement measures included within the framework designed by the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding combating tobacco. These comprise putting an end to the illicit trade of tobacco products, imposing increased taxes on tobacco to lower consumption, and enforcing public places and work sites to be fully smoke free.

The 17th WCTOH is scheduled to take place in South Africa in 2018.